Friday, June 12, 2009

10 face layoffs after budget cuts at School District

The School District has crunched their numbers and sharpened the pencils and whatever way they go about tabulating their financials, at the moment when all is said and done, at least ten School District employees will be laid off when the school year starts in September.

Faced with declining enrollment and the erosion of a school district surplus, cost cutting measures became required to reduce the deficit of $404,854.

The eventual goal for the District was to reduce the budget by twenty percent, which was accomplished with a number of internal moves such as redeploying a number of grants and programs, changing over heating systems, plus the unfortunate requirement to reduce some staff positions within the District.

The Thursday Daily News outlined the scope of the discussion and the decisions made.

SD52 facing job cuts
By Patrick Witwicki
The Daily News
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Page one

School District 52 will layoff 10 employees for the upcoming school year as a part of sweeping budget cuts made Tuesday

Even with a 2008/09 surplus, the district had to find ways to make cuts to the 2009/10 budget, which was presented by SD 52 secretary-treasurer Kim Morris at the monthly board meeting.

"This budget is not without its cuts, said Morris. "We've had to cut 20 per cent from the school budget." .

A declining enrollment factored into the layoffs, but the cutting didn't stop there.

"Next year, we will not have ~ $522,000 surplus," said Morris. "And If we hadn't had this surplus, wed be cutting another $500,000."

To balance the budget, staff had to find a way to cut a deficit of $404,854. That meant 20 per cent was shaved off all school budgets within the district (a savings of$123,277). .

Other cuts included re-deploymg the reading consultant budget ( 94,134) and saving $18,000 for for those services, deductions in both operations and information technology of $10,000 and re-deploying a literacy innovations grant to the achievement budget.

That said, replacing the current boiler at Pineridge to a more modern heating system like what was recently installed at Conrad Elementary will also help save $20,351 for the 2009-10 budgetary year.

Morris added that the district has left some funds available should enrollment be higher than predicted.

"If more students walk through that door, we have more wiggle room to address that with class composition," she said.

Although, if numbers are significantly higher than predicted, SD 52 could be facing an entirely different problem with class composition, as funding from the province only increases if the numbers go up significantly.

"The break-even point is 40 to 60," said Morris.

School trustee Russell Wiens pointed out that the current budget will see its share of tweaks once the 2009/10 school season begins, if indeed enrollment is different than predicted, or other situations arise.

"This is a preliminary budget, and things change in September," he said. "That's when the numbers and realities come to us."

The total budget bylaw amount was listed as $27,640,123, with no expected surplus.

The board then held three readings on the budget, and passed it for the 2009/10 upcoming school year .

Kitkatla has pulled out of the district and will no longer be affiliated as of June 30. But the budget was formulated under the assumption that the Lach Klan school would no longer be in the district, and Morris said that the loss would not affect the upcoming 2009/10 budget fiscally.

"It's generally a wash," she said.

"The money would come from the band council anyway.

"We do have to move two staff members within the community, but it doesn't affect the budget."

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